New vehicle sales in the Philippines declined by over 11% to 15,847 units in August 2021 from 17,906 units a year earlier, according to member wholesale data released jointly by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA).

The country’s economic recovery has slowed in recent months following the latest coronavirus outbreak which prompted the government to reimpose new strict social and business restrictions in early August.

GDP expanded for the first time in five quarters in the second quarter of 2021, by almost 12% year on year, after plunging by 17% a year earlier.

The associations’ data shows vehicle sales rebounded by almost 38% to 170,112 units in the first eight months of 2021 from 123,489 units in the same period of last year, with passenger vehicle sales surging by over 53% to 54,402 units and commercial vehicle sales up by over 31% at 115,710 units.

Toyota sold 82,385 vehicles in the eight month period, followed by Mitsubishi with 23,918 sales, Suzuki 12,946 units, Ford 11,908 units and Nissan 11,500 units.

CAMPI president Rommel Gutierrez said he expected local manufacturers to increase sales by 30% to 295,400 vehicles in 2021 after volume declined 40% to 223,793 units in 2020.

Last month the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced the discontinuation of safeguard measures imposed earlier this year on imported vehicles and ordered cash bonds paid by importers since February to be reimbursed. This is expected to have a positive effect on the overall vehicle market in the second half of the year.